When dealing with a hard drive, you need to partition and format it before putting it into use. In Windows, there are three file system options you can choose from, and they are NTFS, FAT32, as well as the older and seldom used FAT (FAT is also known as FAT16). FAT32 and NTFS are two file systems that are most commonly used to format partitions.
So what are the differences between FAT32 and NTFS?
NTFS is the preferred file system. It has many advantages over the FAT32 file system, such as: NTFS is improved to support for larger hard disks and larger files; NTFS provides higher security than FAT32, so that you can use permissions and encryption to restrict the access to specific files; NTFS is more stable than FAT32 and produces less disk fragments.
FAT32 is usually used in the earlier versions of Windows OS, such as Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows 2000, etc.. FAT32 offers lower security than NTFS provides, if you have a FAT32 partition on your computer, any user who can access your computer can read any file in it. Beside, FAT32 has size limitations. You cannot create a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB, and you cannot store a file larger than 4GB on a FAT32 partition.
So why people still use FAT32? This is because FAT32 has better compatibility than NTFS, and can be used on the earlier operating systems and some PlayStations. In additions, a USB flash drive often adopts the FAT32 file system. So telling from these points, there is a need to convert file system. Next, we will talk about how to convert NTFS to FAT32.
Usually, when it comes to partition management, there are always three methods, i.e. using command prompt, Windows built-in Disk Management and the third-party partition software. However, this time the command prompt will disappoint all of us, because it only supports FAT32 to NTFS conversion, but not the opposite. And Disk Management is another let-down, because we can only accomplish the conversion by formatting the target partition. So we have to move on to use a third-party software.
Here we recommend the free and powerful MiniTool Partition Wizard to do this job, because it will realize convert NTFS to FAT32 without formatting.
Step 1: The first thing we should do is to download and install this partition software.
Step 2: We can see our disk layout in the middle panel. Now click the target partition and select “Convert NTFS to FAT“, and then press “Apply” to save this change.
The advantage of using this software is that it will keep all our data safe. And someday if we want to revert the file system back to NTFS, we can click the partition and choose “Convert FAT to NTFS” to apply.
In conclusion, FAT32 and NTFS are two different file systems, both have their own place. When we need to convert FAT32 to NTFS, we can ask help for command prompt. However, if we want to convert NTFS to FAT32, we should employ MiniTool Partition Wizard to help us finish this task without formatting. If you are going through this problem, try MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition.